This is part of a series on Learning from the Top Sending Campuses in Cru.
See the intro for a full list of all the campuses profiled (and links to each).
Quick facts on Chico Cru:
- 120-130 in movement
- Cru meeting – 1st meeting 205; Last meeting 105
- 6 full time staff – 8 interns
- In 2013 they sent:
- 3 STINT
- 7 Interns
- 0 staff
- In 2012 they sent:
- 1 STINT
- 7 Interns
- 3 staff
I had a theory going into this research – big movements produce a lot of laborers. If I had to guess, I would have said that would be the number one cause of sending a lot of laborers. And to a large extent, I found that to be true.
Of the top 25 sending campuses in Cru, the average movement size is 362 students! Clearly, most of these movements are very large.
But a few campuses among the Top Sending Campuses in Cru really intrigued me. There are a few Cru movements that send a LOT of laborers from not-large movements. These are not small movements by any means – but they have less than 150 students involved (so smaller in contrast to the other gigantic Cru movements).
One of those campuses is Cal State – Chico.
Josh Otto has been at Chico for 10-11 years and been the MTL (Missional Team Leader) there for 4 years.
My main question for Josh was –
What do you think contributes to Chico Cru sending such a large percentage of your seniors?
Campus dynamic is key
- We’re a state school – anyone can get into it
- They’re at Chico because they wanted to party or they didn’t get into their #1 school because of grades or they did not have a plan for their life – they have no clue
- Chico is known nationally for its partying
- There is no middle ground – it’s black and white
- We have a lot of dramatic life change – this is where I was, this is where I am now
- Students have no career plan, no internships
- It gives us the ability with a clean slate to cast vision for Summer Missions, Internship, and STINT
- Most students come from Bay area – sacramento – the campus is pretty homogenous
- Most come from families that have money – they can go to Fall retreat, Summer Missions, Winter Conference
- Our campus really lends itself to mobilizing people
- It’s not like UCLA where everyone is preparing for med school, $50k in debt
- It’s a really relational place with not a lot of purpose
- When people find purpose, they’re able to adjust quickly and change life plans
- All that gives us the platform to send people
- Our strategy as staff is to connect closely to students, to bring them in close to us
- They’re in our homes
- It’s much more of a family feel than a business feel
- The mission is relational
- The town of Chico is smaller, a total college town
- 16,000 students at Chico
- Hanging out with them – really befriending students
- Students who make it to the end, feel very personally connected to us as staff
- It has worked since our movement is smaller, we can give more attention to students
- There is a high level of relational trust
- When they’re getting toward senior year, we ask them to consider interning with us
- They’ve been a part of a movement – so when they graduate they’re equipped to come on staff
- Summer Missions have been huge – getting key students on Summer Missions
- We really try to champion 100% Sent so that it doesn’t seem like all we care about is people coming on staff
- The drum we beat all year is “surrender” (we have a lot of non-Christians and non-surrendered Christians at Chico)
- A few years ago I read Good to Great and we talked about as a team – “What can we be the best in the world at?”
- Our answer= Authentic Community that challenges students to surrender fully to Jesus
- “Chico Cru could be best in the world at creating authentic, raw, and safe community by which non-Christians and unsurrendered Christians are innovatively and relentlessly challenged to respond to Jesus and abandon all else.” [they have a one page document that sums up this ministry philosophy].
God brought a couple key students who really changed the culture. They really elevated the whole culture as students. Then they interned and they paved the way for others.
- Are these people interning because of the mission or because of the relationships?
- Our team is compelling
- They see a good fruitful, working situation and say, “I want that. That looks fulfilling. That looks fun”
- And with a culture of sending they’ve seen other friends do it (intern) and they want to do it
- Especially when it comes to support raising you can tell that they sometimes lack vision (when they cast vision to supporters, sometimes they’re lacking in missional emphasis)
- I worry about how lasting our sending fruit is
- With interning, we’re trying to figure out how much do you throw them out to the wolves to learn for themselves vs. giving them easy/fun jobs
- How do we increase their vision/understanding?
- It will be interesting to see if our current interns join staff
- On a scale from 1-10 spiritually when they came to Chico, our students come from a really low starting place
- Most of our students are an average of 3 coming into school (2 for capacity to be missional)
- So when they graduate they may be a 6 or 7 but they still have a ways to go to be spiritually and missionally mature
What are your big takeaways from Chico Cru? What was most helpful? What clarifying questions do you have?